Yes, tomorrow, it's back to hit-the-ground-running mode. So let me take some time to think about where I want to be as 2017 draws to a close. What are my goals and ambitions for the coming year?
A word of warning: this will be a long post, but it's important to me to capture it all here.
I want to eat 3 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Juices can count.
Once I would not have had this as a goal/intention. I usually ate 5 + servings each and every day. I started by drinking a whole blenderful of berry smoothie, ate 1/4 - 1/2 pound of baby carrots as snacks throughout the day, and had other fruits and veggies along the way.
Those days are not these days. So, let me get back to this basic goal. Some weeks this will be easy. Some weeks, I will have to plan a bit more than I have been.
I want to continue keeping a list of what I've read. I want to read a volume of poetry each month. I want to continue to challenge myself, by returning to classics (my revisiting of Middlemarch stands out in the past year, as does my reading of Black Earth later in the year). I'm not going to be any more proscriptive than that.
My spouse and I are in agreement. We want this year to be the one where we get the house in shape. When we moved into the house in the summer of 2013, we had a "temporary kitchen," something put in to get the house to pass inspection. So, we have a sink and formica counter space, and some minimal cabinet space. We took out a built-in-the-wall aquarium but didn't return to the project to fix the floors and ceiling.
So, this year will be the year of flooring in the common area and kitchen, plus a remodeled kitchen.
We had thought about taking care of some home repair in our backyard cottage first, but over the week-end, we decided that we want to focus on the main house, while we have money in the bank and energy.
Our plan is to hire others to do the work. Once we would have let this project consume all our free time. But we are older now.
On the Friday before Christmas, I did some shopping and wrote this Facebook post to a friend:
"Just got back from shopping. We have the ingredients for salty dogs and bloody marys--which suggests brunch! Any chance y'all are free today or tomorrow at some point? I'm a big believer in brunch at any hour. Carl will be smoking some salmon at some point today--that could be brunch food, right? With some cream cheese and bagels."
And from that impromptu post, we had brunch on Saturday. I was surprised by how easy it felt, so unlike trying to synchronize schedules for an evening meal. I asked those friends if brunch would be possible on some non-holiday Saturdays; I know that my sister's Saturdays are consumed with soccer. But these friends agreed that Saturday brunch would be much easier than many options.
And thus my resolution: more brunch at home. I love restaurant brunch, but I'm aghast at how much it costs. And I love that eating at home means it's quieter with more of a chance to connect.
I can't do this one right away, as I have no vacation time with my recent job switch. But I want to record it so that it doesn't slip away.
On either side of the April retreat that my mom and I planned, I had a visit with my mom and dad--a great visit. It put me in mind of my quick trips to see my Grandma, back when she was still cognizant, and I thought about resolving to take a quick trip for a visit to Mom and Dad on a regular basis--while we are still healthy. I think a lot of people start making these kinds of trips only when their loved ones have more pressing needs.
I'm actually going to break this section into a variety of subjects.
I want to write one short story a month and one poem a week. I will keep blogging on a daily basis when possible, because it's helpful.
I want to remember that I get more writing done when I write first and noodle around on the Internet later.
I want to make one submission to journals a week. More is great. But one per week will be plenty. Perhaps by the end of the year I'll be able to think about book-length submissions again. But if not, that's fine.
When 2016 started, I had no idea that I'd do anything with this art form. Here's a favorite from the past year:
I'm still not sure what to call it. I have wonderful Copic markers, and on most weeks since the Create in Me retreat, I've made a sketch. I often sketch during the second church service. I began by sketching more at a variety of times. I'd like to get back to that.
I have a sense that the coming years will call on many of us to be more vigilant than we have been in the past. I want to look out for the poor and the oppressed and to speak for those who need a voice.
Well, that should be plenty for 2017. And they seem attainable most weeks. Let's see what happens!